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Toilet Repairs Part 1 Introduction: How Your Toilet Works

how a toilet worksWe use them every day but they are seldom discussed. Have you ever wondered how a toilet works? We usually take them for granted, but if they aren't working then we have a problem. We have prepared a series of posts on toilets and how to repair them because from time to time they do need maintenance. Our first installment will teach you the parts of the toilet and how they work together to give you a successful flush. If your toilet is in need of repair and you would like to hire a professional to handle it, contact the licensed plumbing specialists at WaterSmart.


Contact WaterSmart


Kitchener: 519-745-3170; Waterloo: 519.886.7331; Cambridge: 519.886.7331

Guelph: 519.836.2543


Absolutely wonderful! After getting many quotes, checking quality of units, warranty and businesses through the BBB, I chose to go with Watersmart Systems. Best equipment, price, warranty and people!! The gentlemen that came and installed the unit were professional and polite. I will definitely be recommending this company!! - Josh Lessard

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How The Toilet Flushes Away Waste


Attached to your toilet bowl is a U-shaped pipe which leads to the sewer system. The pipe acts like a siphon. When the toilet is flushed, water and waste exit the bowl. At the same time, air quickly fills the U-shaped pipe and stops the siphoning effect.


The toilet tank holds about 7.5 litres of water.When you push the flush handle (8) the attached chain (9) raises the flush valve flapper. The clean water held in the tank is rapidly dumped into the toilet bowl. This happens in less than 3 seconds which is fast enough to initiate the siphoning effect. The siphoning removes all of the water and waste inside the bowl.



how a toilet works

1.  float
2.  fill valve
3.  float arm
4.  tank fill tube
5.  bowl fill tube
6.  flush valve flapper
7.  overflow tube
8.  flush handle
9.  chain
10.fill line
11.float valve
12.flush tube


By Klork (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


How The Toilet Tank Fills Up


Once the water leaves the tank, the flush valve flapper (6) falls down to cover the flush tube (12). This action stops any more water from flowing out of the tank. Water now flows into the tank from the tank fill tube (4). The bowl fill tube (5) sends water back into the toilet bowl to refill it after the flush. Without the bowl fill tube, there would only be a small amount of water left in the bowl after a flush.


As the water level in the tank rises, the float arm (3) lifts the float (1) upward. Once the float reaches the fill line (10), it releases the float valve or ballcock (11) which stops the flow of water into the tank. The Diagram below will give you a closer look at how the float valve works.

how a toilet works

By Egmason (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


As the water fills up the tank, the float arm pushes the valve shut, thus stopping the water from entering. Once the flush is initiated, the float arm falls down, lifting the valve up and allowing water to enter the tank again.


Watch this video which explains how a toilet works.


Upcoming Installments


In our next installment, we will teach you how to fix a leaking toilet tank. Part 3 will show you how to unclog a toilet.  Part 4 will deal with fixing a running toilet and in Part 5 we will show you how to replace a toilet.



Why Choose WaterSmart


WaterSmart has been serving Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and the surrounding areas for more than 23 years. We are the area's plumbing service experts. All of our licensed master plumbers are fully insured and are prepared to tackle any job from toilet repairs to a complete plumbing overhaul. Our services include, but are not limited to, kitchens, bathrooms, toilets, taps, clogged drains, countertop installations, sump pumps, dishwasher installations, hot water heaters, new plumbing, and renovations. Contact us for a FREE in-home estimate. Simply fill in this form and a member of our plumbing department will contact you shortly.


By User:Jarlhelm [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



Parts Of A Toilet

How Toilets Work

How A Toilet Works When You Flush

How To Fix A Leaky Or Runny Toilet


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